December 16, 2008

Top Albums of 2008

I made a big fat list on sputnikmusic that has a lot of write-ups and streaming music and a few other nice goodies. All of my editorializing should be read there. This blog post is going to be a lot simpler. I'm going to have the list of albums and links to their downloads. Enjoy.

1. Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness - Download Disc 1 - Download Disc 2
2. Blue Sky Black Death - Late Night Cinema - Download
3. Son Lux - At War With Walls and Mazes - Download
4. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals - Direct Download
5. Loma Prieta - Last City - Download
6. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound - Download
7. Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Vols. III & IV - Air & Earth - Download
8. Dela - Changes of Atmosphere - Download
9. Mesa Verde - The Old Road - Download
10. Metaform - Standing on the Shoulder of Giants - Download
11. Feral Children - Second to the Last Frontier - Download
12. The Loved Ones - Build and Burn - Download
13. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges - Download?
14. PSY/OPSogist - Suffused With Static - Download
15. Ghostlimb - Bearing and Distance - Download
16. Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday - Download
17. Extra Life - Secular Works - Download
18. Aussitot Mort - Montuenga - Download pw:
19. Blue Sky Black Death - Jean Grae: The Evil Jeanius - Download
20. Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist - Download
21. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles - Download
22. ...Who Calls So Loud - ...Who Calls So Loud - Download
23. Pygmy Lush - Mount Hope - Download
24. Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward - Download
25. The Flashbulb - Soundtrack to a Vacant Life - Download

And again if you want to get fancy and do some reading / listening please go here:

December 14, 2008

Black Milk - Tronic

Though I wasn't all that blown over by Black Milk's Tronic, on the word of Jared Dillon and a few other sputnikmusic staff members, I felt compelled to post it here. Black Milk is pretty balanced as an mc and producer, never getting too weird with his beats and lyrics, while never feeling stale. Definitely a good album and it will make an appearance on more than a few year-end lists.

Tronic [2008] - Download - Review

December 8, 2008

In Pieces - Learning to Accept Silence

This post comes by request of an e-mail I received (feel free to do this - e-mail is on the right hand margin in the disclaimer). In Pieces' Lions Write History is one of my favorite albums of all time. Learning to Accept Silence, their only other album, is slightly less mature, sounding more of an obvious project of the post-hardcore of the time (2002), but it still has some amazing tracks. To this day, "A Fitting Lie" is probably their best track of all time. These guys sound a lot like old Thrice and old Hopesfall. This week is also an apt time to post this link because an ex-In Pieces member (Dan Barrett) will be making a reappearance later this month when I post my top 25 albums of 2008. Enjoy.

Learning to Accept Silence [2002] - Download - Review

November 24, 2008

PSY/OPSogist - Suffused With Static

PSY/OPSogist is a self-made producer working out of rural Virginia who makes hip hop in the vein of DJ Shadow. He has a great taste in sample material (after talking to him I found out he uses The Mars Volta and The Doors) and uses them to great effect. His songs can range from raw and lo-fi to lush and flowing. The album Suffused With Static is one track, meant to be listened to continuously and PSY does a good job of segueing between individual tracks. PSY also makes all of his music free and available online so pass this on to your friends.

Suffused With Static [2008] Download - Review

November 17, 2008

Dela - Changes of Atmosphere

Dank French hip hop that is highly jazz influenced. He makes good use of American rappers, namely Supastition and Talib Kweli. The overall sound is ridiculously smooth and chill, as if Chick Corea gave Dela lessons in sexy flute and Rhodes tones and De la Soul gave him lessons in beatmaking.

Changes of Atmosphere [2008] - Download - Review

November 12, 2008

Ganon - As Above, So Below

Ganon is a post-metal band from Michigan who essentially sound a lot like Isis. They bring nothing new to the table but write killer songs. As Above, So Below is their 2nd full length album.

As Above, So Below [2008] - Download - Review

October 31, 2008

Gospel - The Magic Volume of Dark Matter

Gospel is the most inventive band to ever be associated with emo. Though that's a lofty claim, I think I'm off the hook because of emo's inherent narrowness, and the fact that Gospel isn't really an emo group. When they broke up in 2006, apparently they were working on the follow up to The Moon Is a Dead World. The only artifact of that creative process is the bootleg The Magic Volume of Dark Matter. It was recorded on February 2nd, 2006 and shows Gospel going deeper down the psychedelic, progged out rabbit hole they were first exploring on their debut LP. The song is 23 minutes and runs through a ridiculous number of section changes, them jamming out all the while. Though it's a rough cut and there's probably a lot of improvisation, the track is absolutely awesome and serves as a pleasant if underwhelming swan song for Gospel's too short career. Thanks to Jared from Last Train to Cool for the look on this one. Included is the bootleg and a live video of the performance.

The Magic Volume of Dark Matter [2006] - Download

Part 1

Part 2

October 30, 2008

Aussitôt Mort - Montuenga

Aussitot Mort's debut EP, Six Songs flew completely under the radar of most fans of the label's particular brand of hardcore. However, with the release of their follow up, Montuenga, Aussitot Mort are poised to do a lot more with their adventurous take on the French emo sound. The delay effects are ridiculous, the production is awesome, and the song still retain enough classic emo catharsis to make this a compelling listen. My apologies on the password. That's the only copy I've found that has all 8 songs instead of the random non-encrypted ones that decided to only include 6 of the tracks.

Montuenga [2008] - Download (pw: - Review

Blue Sky Black Death / Jean Grae - The Evil Jeanius

Only in the past 48 hours has the genius (no pun intended) of this album really sunk in. There were two initial humps for me to get over: i) the production by Blue Sky Black Death compresses their trip hop gone post-rock style into something more mainstream and accessible and ii) Jean Grae's female voice and sedated but impassioned tone of voice. Both feel like reductions of the bombastic combo that they could be, however driving around while listening to this record, as the rain and fog has started to pile up in the Bay Area recently has taught me that this reserved and chill album is best when it's reclining and coy. The best tracks feature Jean Grae languidly laying down her lyrics while BSBD throw around a few low key guitar licks and a smooth beat. Definitely recommended.

The Evil Jeanius [2008] - Download

October 24, 2008

Mesa Verde - The Old Road

Mesa Verde's new album, The Old Road, is a notable progression from their previous release. Their two previous albums I own have been a little too derivative, standing on the shoulders of the Saetia's of the emo world without adding that much to the mix. By making their music a little more epic and brooding, while giving it a sweeter production value, they now sound like Explosions in the Sky playing emotional hardcore (except never boring). Their echoed guitar melodies and shouted vocals are more expressive and evocative as a result of this subtle but meaningful change. For me this beats out ...Who Calls So Loud's (ex-Funeral Diner, a band that nearly perfected epic, melodic emo) debut LP but doesn't have the versatility and freshness that Loma Prieta's album Last City does.

The Old Road [2008] - Download - Review

Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus is a compilation album of sorts. Mingus, probably the most famous jazz bassist of all time, compiled an album of retakes on some of his most classic tracks like "Haitian Fight Song" and gave the tracks new titles and slightly new vibes. So this album is a greatest hits album for people who hate the sterility of greatest hits. Every song has a little extra life and verve in it as a result of the newer recording session. At the very least, it's a good place to start with Mingus because of the variety and musicianship.

Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus [1963] - Download - Review

October 13, 2008

Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday

Grails' 2004 album Redlight ruled in all possible ways. Their 2007 album Burning Off Impurities did not. They shifted from being a concise post-rock band to a psychedelic jam band that tossed in Eastern instrumentation all over the place. Short of assuming Grails went on a pilgrimage to India and met Ravi Shankar, I'll just say their musical direction changed. Doomsdayer's Holiday does something to reconcile those two worlds. The Eastern influences and jamminess are no longer endless and open-ended and as a result the songs have regained organization and arc. This album comes highly recommended for fans of post-rock, classic rock, or prog looking for something very different.

Doomsdayer's Holiday [2008] - Download - Review

October 8, 2008

Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles

Though Empyrean Isles predates Hancock's most famous and true blue exploration into modal territory it captures the lighter, more delicate feel of those later classics like "Maiden Voyage" on tracks like "Oliloqui Valley" and "Cantaloupe Island." "The Egg" is a particularly interesting track. It's organized around a mercurial lead melody that moves in and out of harmonic minor sounding modes and traditional modal structures. The massive solo section is defined by huge open arrangements and long solos. The bass solo is particularly nice at complementary that drawn out and impressionistic feel. The alternate tracks are ace too. Another great album in the spirit of Maiden Voyage.

Empyrean Isles [1965] - Download

September 22, 2008

Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage

I was never 100% down for most of the bebop I played when learning how to not suck at jazz guitar, so it was refreshing to end my college jazz career on a performance that featured Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" and Wayne Shorter's "Mahjong." I have more of a natural tendency towards modal jazz both in my soloing style and in personal taste, and I've been relistening to Maiden Voyage nonstop recently. Look to see some more jazz based posting in the coming weeks. No reviews for any of these because I'm lame and only have reviews for poopty contemporary music. But ya, check out this album, it's unbelievably fresh and it's 40 years old.

Maiden Voyage [1965] - Download - Allmusic Blurb

September 21, 2008

Nahvalr - Nahvalr

Nahvalr's self-titled album is the second release for Enemies List records, home of Have a Nice Life. Nahvalr is a self-proclaimed "opensourced black spiritmetal" project. What that means is highly ambient and fuzzed out black metal where anybody can contribute. Yes, anybody. If you have an aiff file of some evil sounding guitar riff you wrote when you were 14, send it in and Tim and Dan will work it (tastefully) into the music. The results are interesting and nicely mixed together, but the music is dense, difficult, and incredibly elusive. Also, next on the list for Enemies List is a project called Giles Corey, a solo work by Dan that is more in the spirit of HANL than Nahvalr that will likely be recorded and ready early 2009.

Nahvalr [2008] - Download - Review

September 5, 2008

Extra Life - Secular Works

What happens when you mix Dirty Projectors, pre-tonal Western classical, math rock, Zs, Kayo Dot, and a ton of other non sequitir influences? Apparently Extra Life's Secular Works is an appropriate answer. This album is by far the most challenging (and confusing) album I've heard this year. The album has been met with positive but non-committal reviews that praise the album for its originality but can't wrap themselves around the breadth of the ideas.

Secular Works [2008] - Download - Review

September 2, 2008

Feral Children - Second to the Last Frontier

There's always one indie band every year that "does it right." That is, they're not trying too hard, are good songwriters, and generally know how to play their instruments / are good at production. It's looking like Feral Children will take the cake this year. They sound like a combination of The Blood Brothers, Modest Mouse, Animal Collective, and Meneguar. Enjoy the midtempo jams.

Second to the Last Frontier [2008] - Purchase - Review

...Who Calls So Loud - ...Who Calls So Loud

Funeral Diner was a great band. Portraits of Past was a great band. If we are to learn anything from Matt Bajda's career, his new group ...Who Calls So Loud (a Charles Dickens quote of all things) will be pretty rad. Their sound is not far removed from Funeral Diner, but these guys are less into the expansive song structures and have some more concision to their blend, though they can open it up from time to time. I was hesitating posting this only because I thought I was going to review it a few weeks ago, but I got lame. In short, album rules and will be enjoyed by all skramz fanz. Enjoy.

...Who Calls So Loud [2008] - Download

August 30, 2008

Flying Lotus - Los Angeles

I first discovered Flying Lotus (Flylo from here on out) through their previous LP 1983. At first it struck me as oddball instrumental hip hop that enjoyed electronic blipping and unconventional beats, but as the grooves sunk deeper into me, I realized that with Flylo, it's more about creating thick, ensconcing atmospheres than anything else. It was my responsibility to let myself get into the flow. Now, on Los Angeles they've really streamlined their sound. Any blipping and beeping contributes directly to the beat and flow of the music instead of just because surface production. The album is a bit homogeneous as a result but is a great piece of new music and is a distinctive listen.

Los Angeles [2008] - Download - Review

August 29, 2008

Planets - Planets

Planets, what can I say about you? Crazy, hypertechnical math rock from Napa, CA where the bassist uses an octave pedal to emulate guitar sounds as well as bass sounds and the drummer might as well break his drumset every time he plays. They play in full body white spiderman suits and project tweaked ass movies onto themselves and a screen behind their set. It's pretty great in the spirit of Hella and Tera Melos. The reason I'm being so loose and unofficial with my description is because I delve into the whole thing quite a bit in my article on Northern California Math Rock for Sputnikmusic, so read that.
Planets [2007] - Download

August 16, 2008

Off Minor - All 2008 Releases

If you don't like Off Minor you probably suck. They are one of those few bands in the emo genre who provide consistently cutting edge music with their distinctive sound that blends together early 90s screamo, late 90s emo (thanks to their former band Saetia), and slight jazz influences. Though their newest LP, Some Blood, really only is "some," this post is the "all" of their recent recording sessions. The split with Killie picks up older tracks that have only recently been recorded ("Some Clown") as well as new material. Their sound is strangely low key and complacent on these recordings. While on previous albums they sounded as if they were actively trying to be "experimental" think of the blatant jazz noodling and guitar noise on "The Heat Death of the Universe" from Heat Death of the Universe. Now, their sound is much more relaxed and nonchalant. They are almost matter-of-fact with their progressive musicianship and songwriting, which lends a refreshing unpretentious edge to these records. Right now, I'm not that hot on any one release in particular, but the collection as a whole, provides quite a few killer tracks. A must-hear for any fans of interesting, heavy music.

Split With Killie [2008] - Download

Some Blood [2008] - Paypal Donation Download - Review

August 11, 2008

Instrumental Hip Hop Double Feature

Metaform's Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, though obviously influenced by the developments of artists like RJD2 and DJ Shadow, does quite a bit to refine the formula of creating trippy hip hop. The production has never been better, full of funk breaks, slick guitar, sensual saxophones, and some unexpected synthesizer moments. There are also some sweet sweet vocals thrown into the mix as if accompaniment. The 45-minute album spread over 19 tracks is essentially a song-by-song testament to why digital manipulation music can feel lush and organic.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants [2008] - Download - Review

Blue Sky Black Death's Late Night Cinema is the spiritual successor to DJ Shadow's Entroducing, but with a lot more detail. The slow-churned beats, which take odd cues from mainstream rap beats, build throughout the course of each track, and along with the varied backgrounds, feel more like post-rock in trip-hop clothing than anything else. Every song builds to a gorgeous crescendo out of a simple trip hop refrain. One of my favorite albums of the year so far.

Late Night Cinema [2008] - Download - Review

August 8, 2008

Algernon Cadwallader - Some Kind of Cadwallader

This album sort of snuck up on me. I had never been one of those Cap'n Jazz fanboys (always liked them though), and I didn't expect to be hooked so hard by a revamping of the Cap'n Jazz style. Overdone vocals, a lot of hammer and pull clean-tone guitar riffs, and an upbeat drum and bass combo. It's pretty great and has a shot at being on some year end lists if people pay attention. As of right now it has sort of flown under the radar and has been categorized as more of a fun or nostalgic release.
Some Kind of Cadwallader [2008] - Download - Review

August 2, 2008

Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett

Venetian Snares is a prolific breakbeat artist who usually appears on my Top 15 lists at the end of the year for one reason or another. He throws around a lot of different styles. For example, his most recent album, Detrimentalist is a throwback to old drum'n'bass and reggae samples from the purported earlier days of breakbeat sampling, but with VS' typical flare for asymmetric time signatures. This album is a huge contrast to his previous LP, which was essentially modern classical, with only four tracks out of fifteen that featured computerized drums. Everything else are strings and other "classical" instruments. Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett is Venetian Snares' masterpiece. It combines the aforementioned modern classical style with jazz samples (all from Hungarian composers), and VS himself programs the breakbeats that make the backbone of these unusual but wonderful sampling decisions. The result is epic, grandiose electronica that feels like it has one foot in a rave and the other in a symphony hall. Read my review to get more details about both the process of composing the album and the details of the sound VS forged.
Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett [2005] - Download - Review

July 28, 2008

Upsilon Acrux - Galapagos Momentum

Upsilon Acrux are particularly weird considering their "math rock" status is non supported by nearly as many time signature and tempo manipulations as similar bands like Tera Melos and Hella. The raison d'etre for UA is their near constant guitar tapping. Sure the drumming has its neat accent variations and that stop-start dynamics are very pronounced, but the focus is on the acrobatic fretwork. There are moments where I love this, and moments where I am very underwhelmed. At the very least, UA are a band to give a listen.

Galapagos Momentum [2007] - Download - Review for Previous Album

Giraffes? Giraffes! - More Skin With Milk-Mouth

Math rock from Santa Cruz with a good mix of melody and psychodelia in the mix as well. In the spirit of Norcal math-rock it feels both jam-packed, as if it's an endless listen, but then ends all too soon. The band is just a drummer and guitarist, both of whom can play the other's instrument, which likely leads to nicely interwoven composition strategies. I've only listened through once but it sure is fun.
More Skin With Milk-Mouth {2007] - Download - Review

July 15, 2008

Loma Prieta - Last City

The previously poopty Marin County emo band Loma Prieta went through a line-up change, an aesthetic change, and a huge leap in maturity. Their new album Last City is pretty much the best album in the emo/screamo/post-hardcore genre ring since The Kidcrash's Jokes. Of course I'm making this assertion after only three or four enthusiastic listens but so far so good. Their sound is highly influened by both the European bands like Daitro and Sed Non Satiata (think of all the slow, arpeggiated sections on the album) all filtered through a music more chaotic, yet also music, Ampere vibe. The songs are shorter, more varied, and ultimately more exciting than anything put out in the emo scene in the past year. Here's to you Loma Prieta.

Last City [2008] - Download - Review

July 10, 2008

Ghostlimb - Bearing & Distance

Ghostlimb needs no introduction. Their albums have both been under 20 minutes, so they should suffice on their own. Hardcore played fast, hard, and furiously. The new album is a little bit more diverse and somehow more pissed off (read my review for full details). HIghly recommended and will likely be on my Top 10 of 2008 list.

Bearing & Distance [2008] - Download - Review

June 29, 2008

The Kidcrash - Discography

Your favorite new post-hardcore band The Kidcrash has put up every single album they've recorded FOR FREE. This included demos and EPs (one that features Beirut's Zach Condon, also a New Mexico resident). No reviews will be linked in this post, but feel free to read my two part interview with Kidcrash's enigmatic and charismatic drummer, Buster Ross.
Interview Part I - Part II

June 20, 2008

Circle Takes the Square - Ritual of Names [Live]

When I first heard the rough demos for "Ritual of Names," a 12-minute long track from CTTS' upcoming album, I was highly disappointed. However, after seeing the version performed in Brooklyn that they posted on their studio blog, I have to admit that I'm very impressed. In the live setting, the song has ferocity and build instead of just black metal harmonies, and I imagine when the song is given the proper recording, it'll sound awesome. Sounds great so far.

June 19, 2008

Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

So I figured, why not be one of the first people to offer up a free download of Girl Talk's new album. The direct link is below but so is the donate link and I expect everybody to do so. So far, I'm struck by how downtempo it can be, especially as the album starts off, as well as how much classic rock is sped up and thrown in. Upon first listen, my favorite is the end of "Set It Off," but it's going to change. My review will be up by the end of the day PST. In addition, I'm linking to my interview/article with Gregg Gillis from this past April. Enjoy! It's great so far!

Feed the Animals [2008] - Direct Download - Donate - Review - Interview

June 11, 2008

Prime Meridian - Januaries: 2006-2008

Though this may be a little absurd and self-indulgent, I'm posting my own music. I've never really gotten a band together though I write music and sometimes record. My school has a part of the school year called Winter Study, where we only take one ungraded class. I always went out of my way to take classes that fed into recording. The EP I've posted here is a collection of songs I wrote for the various classes I took, the exception being the first track. The overall sound is very ambient though the final track really expands on "ambient" as a genre by have a much longer arc. I even used a click track. There is no review for this album so I'll provide some helpful (and once again, self-indulgent) liner notes for each track.

All songs were composed in Pro Tools using only the following gear: PRS Santana SE guitar, Line6 Pod Processor, Line6 Tonecore Pedal Echo Park.

1. "Rusting a Perfect Day." This track was written outside of the context of a class. I started messing around with different melodic techniques using features of the Echo Park pedal in F# minor and just started layering parts of different lengths that all ended up propelling the song towards its crescendo.

2. "Hexagrams" gets its name because it was done for the class "Math and Music." It uses serial tranformations of the unordered hexachord (01457) and was composed in a loose adaptation of the twelve tone tradition. The general sound of this chord, when treated as a pitch set that can be used in a scalar fashion, is a mix of phrygian and hexatonic giving the song its somewhat "exotic" melodic lines.

3. "Pearl Silos" was written for an independent study on electronic recording styles. A friend and I had written three hip hop / pop songs in Digital Performer and needed another track, so I offered to write another ambient one in the spirit of tracks 1-2. The result was a further refining of the ideas on the first two tracks. It benefits from having the through-composed layering of "Rusting..." with the disassociation from perfectly tonal practices of "Hexagrams," though the piece in indebted to E as a pitch-center, if not a tonal center.

4. "Odalisque" is more sprawling and was composed against a click track. It has a D/A modal flavor. The structure of the song is three-fold. First the song builts up its component parts in the spirit of post-rock. Then the tonality dissolves as the twelve-tone background ambience overtakes the tonal center (though the main repeated guitar remains), and finally the song returns to its post-rock self with a guitar solo in the spirit of "Muffin Man" by Frank Zappa that takes the song to its close.

Januaries: 2006-2008 [2008] - Download

May 30, 2008

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

My apologies for letting this blog fall off the face of the earth. I've been graduating from college so I haven't been paying much attention to the music world. I'll be picking it up again for the summer. But more to the point, My Morning Jacket is a surprisingly major label indie/rock band from Louisville, Kentucky. They have the typical reverby vocals of indie bands like Band of Horses but have a heavier, more rock and roll centric sound, though southern rock influences do emerge a la BOH. My Morning Jacket also have a nice psychedelic edge at times, which makes them appealing to Pink Floyders. This album is recommended though it still hasn't sunk in for me quite like their previous two albums, Z and It Still Moves did.

Evil Urges [2008] - Download - Review

March 15, 2008

Son Lux - At War With Walls & Mazes

Son Lux's At War With Walls & Mazes is right now my top album of 2008 (probably tied with Have a Nice Life's Deathconsciousness). It's a compelling mix of soul, pop, glitch, and trip hop composed by solo artist Ryan Lott. The production is gorgeous. Highly recommended.

At War With Walls & Mazes [2008] - Download - Review

March 13, 2008

Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just Disappear

After Polar Bear Club's debut EP came out in 2006, everybody amped them as the next big thing, or at least the next Hot Water Music. This LP is underwhelming but has a few nice track. I have mostly posted this to be a completionist and hook up fans.

Sometimes Things Just Disappear [2008] - Download - Review

March 8, 2008

Murder By Death - Red of Tooth and Claw

Murder by Death released their fourth LP (if you count the LP released as Little Joe Gould) this past Tuesday. The album is a continuation of their idiosyncratic Johnny Cash meets Cursive style. This album is worse than their amazing 2003 LP, Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them but is still a welcome addition to their discography. Download password is

Red of Tooth and Claw [2008] - Download - Review

February 18, 2008

Trophy Scars - Discography

Download links were removed at the request of the band

Trophy Scars is a band I've been both very hot and very cold with. I've been following them since 2003 and I consider their early stuff to be top notch post-hardcore, and Hospital Music to be one of the best post-hardcore releases of all time (unfortunately it's only an EP). Since that album though I've been decidedly overwhelmed, particularly with the mediocre Alphabet. Alphabets. Here is their discography for better or worse.

Sand in the Sea [2006] -

Note: This album is a compilation of Darts to the Sea plus B-sides and demos from their EPs.

Alphabet. Alphabets. [2006] - - Review

Goodnight Alchemy [2005] - - Review

Hospital Music (for the Aesthetics of Language) [2004] - - Review

Darts to the Sea [2002] -
(No artwork - see Sand in the Sea)

February 17, 2008

Do Make Say Think - You, You're a History in Rust

Do Make Say Think's You, You're a History in Rust is one of those albums that missed my Top 15 of 2007 list purely by me being slow to the punch (sorry Ghostlimb). This is a gorgeous album that propels its post-rock songwriting with folk, indie, and alternative influences rather than baroque orchestration or grandiose theme and variation style builds. There is always the semblance of a melodic hook or a regularized chord progression underneath the complex, but grounded arrangements.

You, You're a History in Rust [2007] - Download - Review

January 29, 2008

Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness

Truly falling in love with an album usually happens once a year for me. My most recent heart-melting came at the hands of the shoegaze/post-rock/dark ambient/industrial band Have a Nice Life, who released their double-disc concept album last week. It came in a slim DVD case and had a 70+ page booklet explaining the life and writing of a near-mythical 13th century Italian writer and zealot, Antiochus. The music is absolutely stunning. Considering how DIY and heartfelt this release is, I hope everybody actually purchases it. It's only $11 for a very generous and complete package. Go to the label's website to put in an order.

Deathconsciousness [2008] - Review - Review
Disc One: The Plow That Broke the Plains - Download
Disc Two: The Future - Download

January 21, 2008

The Cape May - Glass Mountain Roads

I heard about The Cape May by way of a press packet. I like Steve Albini and he was producing this album so I decided to give it a few whirls. I'm glad I did. It is really subdued and powerful not unlike an indie version of Engine Down. This band has a wonderful sense of how to brood without being dark or depressive. As far as I know this is their first LP but something tells me it's their second. The second track, "Old & Early Numbers" is one of my favorites of the year.

Glass Mountain Roads (2007) - Download - Review

January 14, 2008

Top EPs/Splits of 2007

I excluded releases that weren't EPs or Splits from my Best Albums of 2007 list so I made a special feature for all of the great EPs that came out this year. There were mostly sweet skramz stuff. Tera Melos made the list twice and both The Kidcrash and Daitro almost doubled down too. I made the downloads into two packages so that everybody can sample a bunch of stuff.

1. Comadre / Trainwreck Split
2. Drowning With Our Anchors - Demo
3. Tera Melos - Drugs to the Dear Youth
4. Envy - Abyssal
5. The Kidcrash / Coffin Dancer Split
6. Ampere / Daitro Split
7. Tera Melos / By the End of Tonight - Complex Full of Phantoms
8. Twain Harte - A Sunny Place for Shady People
9. Aussitot Mort - Aussitot Mort

Top EPs/Splits of 2007 Albums 1-4
Top EPs/Splits of 2007 Albums 5-9

January 12, 2008

Top 15 Albums of 2007

Here are my top 15 in a streamlined form. To read little blurbs about my favorite albums go here.

1. The Kidcrash - Jokes - Download - Review
2. Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II - Fire & Water - Download - Review
3. The Pax Cecilia - Blessed Are the Bonds - Download - Review
4. Justice - - Download - Review
5. Hot Cross - Risk Revival - Download - Review
6. Ghastly City Sleep - Ghastly City Sleep - Download - Review
7. Radiohead - In Rainbows - Download - Review
8. Hopesfall - Magnetic North - Download - Review
9. Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice - Download - Review
10. Meneguar - Strangers in Our House - Download - Review
11. The Dirty Projectors - Rise Above - Download - Review
12. Between the Buried and Me - Colors - Download - Review
13. American Steel - Destroy Their Future - Download - Review
14. Venetian Snares - My Downfall - Download - Review
15. Modern Life Is War - Midnight in America - Download - Review

Honorable Mentions: Ghostlimb - Ghostlimb (only just a mention because I found out about it too late), Burton Wagner - 21, Meet Me in St. Louis - Variations on Swing, The Cape May - Glass Mountain Roads, Little Brother - Get Back

Meneguar - Strangers in Our House

Meneguar is a slick ass indie band from Brooklyn, NY. This was my 9th favorite release of 2007 (I may yet get links for this entire list), beating out The Dirty Projectors' Rise Above as my favorite indie album. These guys play a highly guitar-centric brand of riff-rock. They are really fun not unlike a more serious, genuine version of The Strokes.

Strangers in Our House (2007) - Download - Review

January 10, 2008

Ghostlimb - Ghostlimb

Sometimes I listen to hardcore bands and they just throw around a bunch of dissonant notes and make super sparse but beefy breakdowns. Ghostlimb is heavy as fuck at all times without sacrificing melody. The album has 11 songs and is 15 minutes long. "Palimpsest" is a perfectly complete 55 second hardcore nugget. These guys also don't take themselves completely seriously with descriptions of their music on myspace being "Influences: none, traffic; Sounds Like: unreasonably mad" unlike other similar sounding artists (Celeste's Influences: SHORA, BREACH, NEUROSIS, ISIS, DATURAH, BRAZEN, CALLISTO, TIME TO BURN, SYSTRAL, ACME, FORCEED, KNUT, ANANDA, NOSTROMO.......). The result is a hardcore album that understands that brevity and brutality can coexist with melody and sensibility. Also, this music isn't for pussies. Excuse the obnoxiously large album art. It's EPIC.

Ghostlimb (2007) - Download

January 9, 2008

Tera Melos (Are Freaks)

Sorry to stray from my norm of just posting albums but these live videos of Tera Melos merit an aberration.

From a set in San Jose, CA

Excerpt from "Last Smile for Jaron"

New track

From a set at Modified

"Spoonful of Slurry"

"When Worms Learn to Fly"

Compilation of TM going crazy

They are so good at their instruments.

January 7, 2008

Team Sleep - Team Sleep

Team Sleep is the trip hop side project of Chino Moreno, singer of the Deftones. The music ranges from more traditional sounding rock in the style of the Deftones to more abstract electronic and drum and bass stuff as on the track "Staring at the Queen." I saw these guys live at Slims in San Francisco on December 16 and was particularly impressed by their drummer, Zac Hill, who is the active drummer in a lot of impressive Sacramento based bands, most notably Hella. Below is their only release. Their next album is in the works but has no official date to be recorded or released.

Team Sleep (2005) - Download - Review

January 4, 2008

Girl Talk - Night Ripper

Girl Talk was praised by my friends back in early 2007 / late 2006. I really liked what I had heard at the time but never bothered getting the album of the moment, Night Ripper, because I figured I'd just get to hear it every time I drank or something. The album phased out of my friends' playlists in March and it took me until October to pick it up myself. Since then I've listened to it nonstop. Seriously it has probably 20+ plays in that short time. This is the best pop / electronic album I've ever heard other than Daft Punk's Discovery and Justice's .

Night Ripper (2006) - Download - Review

In Pieces - Lions Write History

Lions Write History surprised me in the late summer of 2005. I had been a fan of their previous LP, Learning to Accept Silence, though I had always considered In Pieces to be a poor man's Thrice. Upon getting this album, and relistening to their previous work, I realized that In Pieces have a lot more depth to their songwriting than I had initially thought. Lions Write History is their masterwork, featuring an immaculate vocal performance and memorable passages saturating every track. This album is a 5/5 album for me personally and can probably impress even the most jaded fan of post-hardcore. Ex-members are in a slew of current bands. One of which, Have a Nice Life, is interesting shoegaze/post-rock/doom that I'll feature in the next few weeks when I get the advance of the album. For the time being, check out their myspace.

Lions Write History (2005) - Download - Review